School briefs for April 13th-19th

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New head of school at Beaufort Academy

Dr. Daniel Durbin
Dr. Daniel Durbin

Dr. Daniel Durbin has been appointed the next Head of School for Beaufort Academy.  

This appointment concludes an extensive national and international search process launched by a qualified Head of School Search Committee to identify a successor for outgoing Headmaster Stephen Schools.   

The search included over 70 applicants and was narrowed to three contenders in three states.   

Durbin, presently the director of Youth and Family Ministries at Sea Island Presbyterian Church, will begin his tenure at Beaufort Academy on Monday, April 17.  

He will work in conjunction with outgoing headmaster for the remainder of the school year. 

According to Chilton Grace Simmons, president of the board of trustees of Beaufort Academy, “Since we began the search and asked for input from faculty, staff, parents and the community, Dr. Durbin’s name has continuously been brought to us by people both inside and outside of BA.  Many of those voices were those of teachers.    

“He has an extremely dynamic and comprehensive knowledge of education, and is beloved by teachers and students alike. Importantly, he also knows the Beaufort community well, including being active in Sea Island Rotary, Sea Island Presbyterian Church, and American Legion. BA is thrilled to embark upon its future under Dr. Durbin’s proven leadership and passion for education.”

Local sorority attends leadership event

Members of Mu Pi Zeta with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s International president, from left, are Kimberly Bush, event photographer; Tina Johnson, executive board chair; Dr. Mary Breaux Wright, international president; Shai Tyson, escort to president; Ruth Naomi James and assistant secretary. Photo provided.
Members of Mu Pi Zeta with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority’s International president, from left, are Kimberly Bush, event photographer; Tina Johnson, executive board chair; Dr. Mary Breaux Wright, international president; Shai Tyson, escort to president; Ruth Naomi James and assistant secretary. Photo provided.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority held its South Carolina Leadership Conference in Myrtle Beach March 31 and April 1.  

Mu Pi Zeta, Beaufort County graduate chapter, Tau Upsilon, undergraduates at University of South Carolina Beaufort and Zeta Amicae Auxiliary of Beaufort were recognized at the conference in the presence of the sorority’s international president, Dr. Mary Breaux Wright.  

Mu Pi Zeta was awarded Lowcountry 2 Model Chapter of the Year for 2017. This is the second consecutive win for the graduate chapter.  

Chaqueria Vereen, a junior at USCB and member of Tau Upsilon, was one of the Top 10 honorees for highest grade point average of all undergraduate members of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority in the state.  

First place for March of Dimes donations and Z-HOPE (Zetas Helping Other People Excel) was awarded to Zeta Amicae Auxiliary of Beaufort.

In addition to chapter recognition, two members were installed as state officers. The local president, Tina Johnson, is the executive board chair, and the undergraduate advisor, Ruth Naomi James, is the assistant secretary.  

Marlena Smalls, honorary member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, provided musical entertainment for the opening ceremony.

Simultaneously in Columbia, Briona Millidge, a youth participant for the sorority, received the Richard W. Riley Award on April 1 from South Carolina Education Association. Bernadette Hampton, SCEA president and member of Mu Pi Zeta, presented the award at SCEA’s awards luncheon.

A scholarship fundraiser will be held 7 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the USCB Center for Performing Arts featuring classical musicians Time for 2, Kearston and Kendall Gonzales. Proceeds will benefit graduating seniors.  

The cost is $30 per adult and $15 per youth.

Art, science merge in ‘River of Words’

The complex ecology and peaceful beauty of Port Royal Sound serves as the inspiration for a new collection of art and poetry by Beaufort County School District students.

“River of Words:  Musings on Port Royal Sound through Poetry and Art 2017,” was unveiled at a reception recently at the Port Royal Maritime Center. The annual student publication is the culmination of an interdisciplinary learning experience about the sound’s watersheds.

“We live in an extraordinary landscape,” said Heather Brabham, the project’s coordinator. “ ‘River of Words’ lets teachers and students become an active part of that environment, learn from it and be inspired by it. The creativity of our students is really amazing.”

Brabham said that first- through 12th-grade students from 17 district schools accepted the “River of Words” challenge last fall to extend learning beyond their classroom walls and into neighboring marshes, beaches and maritime forests.  

Science, English language arts, math, gifted and talented and visual arts teachers joined forces to design interdisciplinary units of study that examined local watersheds from multiple perspectives.

Students and teachers equipped with binoculars, cameras and sketchbooks experienced first-hand the intricate ecology of Port Royal Sound.  

They tested water quality, studied stormwater run-off and discussed the effects of pollution and population growth. They kayaked in area rivers, embarked on virtual field trips, toured the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center and explored the Lowcountry’s natural history and cultural heritage at Coastal Discovery Museum. 

Brabham said that while students observed, measured, tested, researched and documented, they also heightened their senses and attuned them to the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world. Following their scientific discoveries, students were charged to transform their new knowledge into poems and art.  “River of Words” was the result.

Now in its seventh year, “River of Words” enables students to use humor and haiku, free verse, figurative language, vivid vocabularies and heartfelt advocacy along with paint, pencil and digital images to demonstrate their understanding of Port Royal Sound and to make their voices heard.

This year’s cover art, a painting of a pelican, was created by fifth-grader Julianna Vega from Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts.

Participating schools this year were: Battery Creek High, Beaufort Middle, Bluffton Middle, Hilton Head Island Elementary, Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, H.E. McCracken Middle, Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary, Mossy Oaks Elementary, May River High, Okatie Elementary, Pritchardville Elementary, Red Cedar Elementary, Riverview Charter, River Ridge Academy, Robert Smalls International Academy, Michael C. Riley Elementary and Whale Branch Middle. 

“River of Words” can be purchased online for $15 by visiting or and typing “River of Words” into the search engine.

Students attend scholarship event

As the end of another school year is fast approaching so do the deadlines for graduating seniors to apply for scholarships and grants. 

In Beaufort, the Greek letter organizations and several stakeholder groups collaborated to form the LowCountry Scholarship Group. 

The scholarship chairs of each granting organizations and the groups that reach out/mentor youth made up the organization.

The mission of the LowCountry Scholarship Group was to come together to develop a scholarship program that reaches out to the community, making eligible students aware of the opportunities that abound in Beaufort county that few are taking advantage of.

Each of the scholarship granting organizations was asked to submit a digital version of their scholarship application packages. When it was all said and done, over 45 scholarship applications and over 75 links to other educational opportunities were given to each student on a personal thumb drive. Also each student was given a folder with vital financial aid information.

The scholarship workshop was held on March 4 at Whale Branch Early College High School. There was a registration of over 58 students and parents representing 22 high schools, four counties and Georgia. 

Day of Learning coming to TCL

The Technical College of the Lowcountry is hosting A Day of Learning and Conversation from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, April 21, at its Beaufort campus. 

Faculty, staff and community members will lead a series of conversations in the humanities such as in art, history, culture and literature. 

The program is free and includes three hour-long sessions followed by lunch with TCL faculty, community partners and leadership. Reservations are required and space is limited. 

To register, visit or contact Jessica Bridges, assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement, at 843 525-8294 or

Public invited to college fair at TCL

The Technical College of the Lowcountry will host a college fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, April 13, in the MacLean Hall Student Center at the Beaufort Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

 TCL and four-year colleges and universities from around the state and beyond will provide enrollment and transfer information. 

For more information, contact Melanie Gallion, TCL Career and Transfer Services manager, at 843-525-8224 or